Hydrodynamic effects on a predator approaching a group of preys

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A numerical approach to predict the hydrodynamics involving a predator approaching a group of 100 preys is presented. A collective behavioural model is adopted to predict the two-dimensional space-time evolution of the predator-preys system that is supposed to be immersed in a fluid. The preys manifest mutual repulsion, attraction and orientation, while the predator is idealized as an individual to be strongly repulsed. During the motion, the predator experiences a resistance induced by the encompassing fluid. Such effect is accounted for by computing the hydrodynamic force and by modifying the predator's velocity given by the behavioural equations. A numerical campaign is carried out by varying the predator's drag coefficient. Moreover, analyses characterized by progressively wider predator's perception areas are performed, thus highlighting the role of the hydrodynamics over the behavioural interactions. In order to estimate the predator's performance, an ad-hoc parameter is proposed. Moreover, findings in terms of trajectories and angular momentum of the group of preys are discussed. Present findings show that the sole collective behavioural equations are insufficient to predict the performance of a predator that is immersed in a fluid, since its motion is drastically affected by the resistance of the surrounding fluid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-339
Number of pages11
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2014


  • Biophysics
  • Collective behaviour
  • Predator-preys interaction


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